Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Colorado will adopt California's vehicle emissions standards

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2018 at 12:00 PM

click to enlarge Gov. John Hickenlooper's executive order requires Colorado to develop a Low Emission Vehicle plan. - STOCK_PHOTO_WORLD / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
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  • Gov. John Hickenlooper's executive order requires Colorado to develop a Low Emission Vehicle plan.

Colorado's Department of Public Health and Environment must develop a Low Emission Vehicle, or LEV, program based on California's emissions standards, Gov. John Hickenlooper announced June 19.

The executive order is a reaction to the federal government's rollback of vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for model years 2022 and beyond. The rollback could have "serious consequences for Colorado's efforts to meet our clean energy goals by increasing carbon dioxide emissions from Colorado's vehicle fleet by approximately 1.9 million tons a year by 2030," Hickenlooper's order reads.

Therefore, according to the statement, Colorado will:
• "develop a rule to establish a Colorado LEV program, which incorporates the requirements of the California LEV program; and
• propose that rule to the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission during its August 2018 meeting for possible adoption into the Colorado Code of Regulations by December 30, 2018."

Colorado joins 12 other states that have already adopted California's standards.

The announcement drew a flurry of reactions from organizations on both sides of the clean-air debate. Colorado Moms Know Best, a network of parents promoting clean air, clean energy and environmental protection, had effusive praise for Hickenlooper. "Head Mom" Jen Clanahan issued the following statement:

Moms across Colorado are already thankful that we get to raise our kids in this beautiful state and today we have another reason to be grateful. We are thrilled to hear about Governor Hickenlooper’s Executive Order that will lead to cleaner air which means healthier kids.

The actions threatened and taken by the Trump Administration to roll back national fuel efficiency standards will lead to more pollution and sicker kids. Pollution from vehicles can cause severe respiratory and other health problems, especially in the still-developing lungs of young children or those with asthma.

Thankfully, we live in Colorado where Governor Hickenlooper is committed to the cleanest air in the country. His Executive Order will mean cleaner cars and that means fewer asthma attacks for the one in 12 children who suffer from asthma in our state. It means fewer missed school days from sick kids. It means our children can play outside without parents worrying about air pollution harming their still-developing lungs. And it means the choices for families shopping for a new car can include models that will put more money back into the family budget and less money spent on gas.

Today, families say "thank you" to Gov. Hickenlooper.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers appealed to legislators to reverse the order, saying in a statement that the economic cost of implementing regulations would outweigh the benefits:

A poll conducted last week by the Auto Alliance showed that a majority (61 percent) of Coloradans are opposed to the state fuel efficiency standards being dictated by California. And that makes sense because Colorado is already a national leader in sales of low emission vehicles. Importing California’s standards could saddle Coloradans with a huge financial burden without providing any additional contributions to the environment.

As it stands now, Coloradans may be looking at the kind of high gas prices that Californians pay to purchase carbon neutral fuel. If state regulators and policymakers move forward with adopting California’s standards on zero emission vehicles, Coloradans would be looking at paying millions, if not billions, of dollars to create the kind of infrastructure that would encourage people to buy these vehicles.

Moreover, under the California program, there could be a significant reduction in the choice of vehicles for Coloradans, particularly when it comes to trucks and other large vehicles.

We hope that state regulators and legislators will reverse course on this issue and implement the kind of standards that work for Coloradans.

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